A few weeks ago I took the new road-to-trail conversion to Granite Lakes and Thompson Lake. It was nice, but out-and-backs aren’t my favorite. I decided that next time I would make it a point-to-point, starting at the Granite Creek Road trailhead and finishing at Pratt Lake trailhead.
That’s the route I did today, and it was a ton of fun. I started in the dark at 6 am. The climb to Thompson Lake isn’t spectacular, but it’s a steady moderate grade and I had the trail to myself, which is always nice.
Once at Thompson Lake, I entered the Alpine Lakes Wilderness and picked up the Mt Defiance trail. This is where things started to get more scenic and more interesting (unfortunately the lighting was pretty flat so I don’t have any good pics).
The solitude was fantastic. Several times I stopped just to listen to the silence.
As I climbed towards Defiance Ridge I encountered a fair amount of snow. It was clear that I was the first person that had been back there in awhile, which was such a treat. I had to do a little route-finding, but nothing too bad. I got turned around once (went left when I should’ve gone right) but figured it out fairly quickly. And now my tracks are back there to make it even easier for others to stay on trail!
The snow started to lessen as I approached the junction with the Defiance summit spur, and I didn’t see any snow at all on the south-facing meadows below Defiance. However, once you get back in the woods, there is intermittent snow all the way down to Mason Lake and past Rainbow Lake. The snow disappears for good when you reach the south face of Pratt, at which point I ditched the microspikes and got in some very fun downhill running in the warm sun.
Big thanks to my husband Tom Kelley for helping me with the shuttle on this one. You’re the best!